Egypt Condemns Erdogan For Criticizing Cairo’s Rights Record

Photo: Al Jazeera

Egypt has condemned Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his allegations that Cairo supported a group that Ankara says masterminded the coup attempt on July 15 and for criticizing the most populous Arab country for its rights record, calling the remarks “irresponsible.”

In an interview with Al Jazeera on Thursday, Erdogan said his government distinguishes the Egyptian state and its citizens. “We love the nation [Egypt] like it was ours and that’s why we have provided all support to them,” he said. “However, we are against governments [came through a coup] and the violation of freedoms. We will stand with the Egyptian people in their fight for democracy.”

Early on Friday, hours after the interview, Egyptian Foreign Ministry slammed Erdogan’s accusations and called it “irresponsible” and claimed that Turkey was practicing double standards.

“His government is arresting hundreds of academics, journalists, lawyers, ordinary people, even lawmakers,” said Abu Zeid, a ministry spokesman. It is astonishing that Erdogan thinks himself as a “democracy guardian” he continued.

Erdogan’s hatchet job against the Egyptian government comes at a time of heightened tensions, only a day before a protest against the Egyptian government that was organized by the banned Muslim Brotherhood movement.

Timing is meant to “destabilize Egypt,” Mr. Zeid argued. He also reminded that the Brotherhood is a staunch ally.

The relationship between Cario and Ankara have been rocky since the summer of 2013, when Egypt’s Islamist President Mohammed Morsi, Erdogan and his founding party’s very close ally, was ousted on July 3, 2013.

After the military coup, Erdogan relentlessly slammed Egypt’s new president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi. And beyond that, he even held rallies to show his solidarity with the movement.

Cario had blamed Ankara for interfering in its internal affairs, and backing the Muslim Brotherhood, which is designated a terrorist group by Egypt.